Review: Having thus far released EPs for Aficionado and Music For Dreams, A Vision Of Panorama return to their regular haunt Mellophonia to expand on the promise of their shorter works to go deep into a Balearic dream on Aquafusion. It's a perfect meditation on serene funk from start to finish, spanning eight tracks of tender musicianship that sit very easy on the ears. The likes of "Surf Blue" almost do away with drums entirely in a quest for calm, while "Barbados" and others offer up a more sprightly vision of 80s-flavoured groove, but throughout the mysterious hands behind the record maintain a smooth and steady mood that binds the album together.
Review: Golf Channel and Emotional Response embark on a mission to bring together two generations of Kraut excellence as Dunkelziffer's Dominik Von Senger collaborates with the Montezumas Rache pairing of Jan Schulte and Christian Pannenborg. As you'd expect, the resultant EP is rather fine. They set the tone with "Rheinfaren", where a low-slung, dubbed-out groove is complimenting by twinkling guitars, delay-laden Jew's harp parts, and other sun-kissed elements. "Tangerine (Krauter Mix)" doffs a cap to Tangerine Dream and Dunkelziffer, with tumbling guitars - some effected by a wah-wah pedal - and vintage synths combining to create an effortlessly Balearic mood. Closer "Guten Morgen Bromio" is a fuzzier affair, combining grooves and sounds reminiscent of Pink Floyd's Animals full-length with the out-there attitude of classic krautrock.
Review: International Feel main man Mark Barrott has been unfeasibly productive in the last couple of years, releasing a string of fine mini-albums, and 12" singles, which touch on a variety of styles. This latest outing is every bit as magical as some of those excursions, with A-side "Cascades" offering a life-affirming blend of undulating, Tangerine Dream style synthesizers, soft touch, D.K style beat patterns, and breathlessly sun-kissed atmospherics. It's ambient, kids, but not as you know it. The Ibiza-based producer moves further towards Jose Padilla territory on the hot and humid, tropical-tinged flipside "Tagomago", whose combination of live instrumentation and blissful electronics is near perfect.
Tri Atma Und Gyan Nishabda - "Naturlicheliebe Liebe" (5:09)
Planet Funk - "Inside All The People" (Harvey Ibiza Sleepy mix) (6:13)
Mark Barrott - "Deep Water" (5:54)
Gryningen Frun Andra - "Frun Andra Hand Till Strnnderna I Nice" (2:26)
Hatchback - "White Diamond" (8:58)
Review: Given how busy he's been with International Feel this year, you have to wonder where Mark Barrott finds the time to get involved with this new compilation series from the equally-fresh Hostel La Torre label. Of course, Hostel La Torre Ibiza: Volumen Uno came about after Barrott spent the last summer DJing at the hotel venue of the same name based on the West Coast of Ibiza; you can imagine the experience left Barrot with plenty of inspiration when it came to pulling together tracks for the series. Presuming there will be several more editions, this is a fine start and will satisfy anyone missing a finely-curated compilation in the digital playlist age. Barrott canvasses a wide spectrum of Balearically-minded sounds with the psychedelic sanza of Francis Bebey, reissue favourites Finis Africae and Penguin Cafe Orchestra rubbing shoulders with more contemporary fare from Antinote artist Domenique Dumont, Hatchback and Andras Fox.
Review: Seven years since the last Smith & Mudd album kissed our ears... Gorthlek is a long-awaited treat that's landed (by no coincidence we suspect) right at the start of prime sandy season. Picking up where they left us (together and as part of the Bison collective), it's every bit as soul soothing, soft-focus and poised as you'd expect. It's the weight and richness that will grab most fans the hardest; amid the floral pastoral instrumentation on tracks such as "Alrick" and "Gorthlek Part 1", there's real swampy bluesy fusion such as "Mr Coats", there's fiddle-flipping cosmic folk on "Enos" and naked piano striking drama on the closure "Gorthlek Part 2". Instrumental Balearic bliss.
Review: Given their famously slow work rate, Massive Attack have been relatively prolific of late. This is their third 12" of the year, following the collaboration-heavy Ritual Spirit E.P (which featured, amongst others, estranged former band member Tricky), and the limited edition Dear Friend. The two tracks showcased here also feature guests. Hope Sandoval joins 3-D and Daddy G on A-side "The Spoils", adding her evocative, fragile vocals - think Liz Fraser on "Teardrop" - to the Bristolian duo's lusciously orchestrated trip-hop backing track. On the flip, things get altogether darker, as Ghostpoet narrates us through another of the pair's paranoid, late night moments. It's arguably the stronger of the two tracks, which is saying something given the overall quality on display.
Lets's Float (Leo Mas & Fabrice Balearic Deep Militant remix)
Review: Shining Bird frontman Dane Taylor serves up a beautiful piece of mellow beach pop, drenched in antipodean sunshine. This is made for sipping cold drinks under palm tree shade or swinging hammock dreams. The flip sees Balearic Commander in chief Leo Mas and his ever present colonel Fabrice deliver a truly stunning piece of balearic chug. Deep ambient textures capturing the essence of a smiley sunset. Happy happy. Uber hitting the balearic nail on the head once more.
Review: Balearic Blah Blah make a fashionably late entrance into 2016 with a fittingly beautiful double-A that's standardly super-limited. Nothing is known about Senor M but here's what we can confirm: "Carbo" is the ultimate beach tune with its soft ebb and flow chords, lazy, slouching breakbeat and precision crafted Japanese sample. "Time" is just a tiny bit more upbeat with its sun-kissed dub vibe and sweeping nod to a long sought after classic. We waste time spoiling the surprise...
Review: Uber's latest offering is a sublime 5 track ep from French producer Shelter. Sailing On A Black sea is a drifting piece of ambient electronica. Late night stargazing on the deck with the waves gently lapping on the shore. Sad Beach continues with the layered textures with a little more of a percussive feel. through the Desert Land is shimmering mesmerising journey through the dunes with loose congas soft guitars and a hypnotic Jews Harp. Seaport theme continues the coastal vibrations but with a touch of bounce and uplifting choral vocal stabs and louche pads. Finally Water Plain closes the journey with kalimbas and xylophonic melodies and the contining theme of phosphoescent seas and soothing synth sounds. A very accopmlished slice of beach bar balearica destined for sunsets around the med for years to come.
Review: Made 10 years ago in only 2 weeks, The Rev. Thorn's debut LP "Airport West'" brings the world of easy listening Muzak and chilled out disco together. It is his second release on his very own label Dreamtime UK, following Goldie Thorn's "Canal Life". After being played heavily in Melbourne cafes and BBQs, it is now due to make waves across the world. Romantically bitter sweet strings with a vintage disco beat, on an LP journey to heartbreak and back.
Review: Gatefold 2LP ediiton: While their 50 Weapons imprint may be winding up, Modeselektor's Monkeytown imprint is still in full swing, releasing all sorts of interesting electronic music lately from producers as diverse as Robot Koch, Omar Souleyman and Howling. This time label head honchos Bronsert and Szary team up with good mate Sascha Ring aka Apparat for another session as well.. Moderat, of course! Highlights include the bittersweet and bass heavy pop inflections of "Bad Kingdom" featuring Ring's powerful vocals, the epically future beats of "Let In The Light" or "Ilona" and the upbeat dusty deep house of "Milk". Superb production on display throughout the album and don't forget to check out the killer remixes by Skee Mask and Benjamin Damage (amongst others) available soon as well.
Review: Parisian enfant terribles Antinote are back and this time present us with Nico Motte, the label's in-house graphic designer and one half of graphic design entity Check Morris. Following up 2014's Rhelogia EP, Motte serves up a brilliantly eclectic album exploring the Balearic, cosmic and downbeat across this fascinating journey. Starting out with the "Tema D'Amore" which sounds like something early 80's film soundtrack that was rescued for the cutting room floor, there's also the vintage Chicago house vibes of "ICA", the sombre and breathtaking ambience of "Tiger For Breakfast" and the sultry minimal disco of "Tacotac" among others. Music for modern lovers, young poets and the artists.
The Mysterious Island Of Dr Nimm (Nu Guinea Aquarium mix) (5:16)
Der Stern, Der Nie Vergeht (Domenique Dumont mix) (8:07)
Review: Globetrotting producer Mark Barrott now presents several fine remixes of tracks from his brilliant Sketches From An Island 2 LP release earlier in 2016. First up CFCF (Paper Bag Records/1080p) delivers a wonderful rendition of "Brunch With Suki", reminiscent of late 90s, drum n bass influenced electronica. On the flip, there's a wonderful gamelan workout on Nu Guinea Aquarium's truly breathtaking rework that's just made for drifting. Finally there's some smooth laid-back disco vibes, '80s style on "Der Stern, Der Nie Vergeht (Domenique Dumont mix)" and that boogie baseline with those pan-pipes work with each other in perfect harmony.
Review: As it approaches the end of its' first decade, Claremont 56 continues to lead the way when it comes to atmospheric, sun-kissed Balearica. This latest chunk of horizontal goodness comes courtesy of Essex-based Statues, a trio who caught label boss Paul 'Mudd' Murphy's attention after submitting a string of impressive demos. "Alaula" is a softly spun delight, with Grant Carruthers' impassioned vocals weaving themselves around alluring acoustic guitars, rich bass, twinkling Rhodes lines, and Robin Lee's immaculate cello parts. Murphy delivers the obligatory flipside remix, serving up a delay-laden dub built around intricate percussion, life-affirming pianos, and Lee's wonderful strings.
Review: Surely one of the finest record labels operating out of Russia right now, Udacha welcomes Gamayun back for a second time to admirably dive into the particular spirit that surrounds the label. Somewhere between loose-fit soulful house grooves you might hear on Downbeat and a more mystical, far-out spirit, this mysterious producer is a dab hand at weaving a particularly enchanting spell. The jazzy fluidity of "C-Music" could easily sit alongside some of Vakula's more wayward works, while "Aerial Dance" pirouettes off into an abstract rhythmic space that truly stimulates even as it confuses. Records this fresh-sounding don't roll around every day.
Review: Having successfully teased us with "Calypso Beach" earlier this year, Phil Mison and Volmer's Ambala project levels up with their debut album. As you'd expect from all parties concerned, the whole set is brimming with Balearic bliss; the languid flamenco of "Last Swimmer", the soft focus slap bass house groove of "Distant Island", the fine balance of African folk and bluesy guitar struts of "Bambari", the Steve Miller style "Walk With The Dreamers"... These are just a handful of the 11 reasons why Volume One has perfect summer soundtrack potential. Both on and off the dancefloor.
Review: Mountain Ash is an alias of producer Lusty Zanzibar. When the track Portmanteau was sent to Uber they immediately picked up this slice of hynotic experimental loveliness. Layer upon layer of emotive synths and a pulsing arp help you drift towards a beautiful climax. Coyote slow the pace a little keeping the hypnotic pulsing arpeggio and add some lazy beachside drums, percussion, a few pianos and Kalimbas creating a beautiful beach bar shuffler..Brooklyn's finest Zoovox create a subtle analogue rework staying close to original but adding their own delicate vibrations. Drift away into the sunset.
Adamo & Eva (Leo Mas, Fabrice & DJ Rocca Paradiso mix) (7:15)
Adamo & Eva (Leo Mas & Fabrice On Air mix) (6:04)
Adamo & Eva (Leo Mas & Fabrice Es Vedra mix) (6:28)
Adamo & Eva (DJ Rocca original Sin mix) (5:30)
Review: Leo Mas: one of Ibiza's most influential selectors since his legendary residency in Amnesia during the 80s, everything about him is Balearic as it gets. Even his socks. For this brand new Music For Dreams series we launch with four versions of Leo's vision of the island's musical genus: "Adamo & Eve". Building, subverting and repurposing elements with some of his favourite peers throughout, each take tells a different tale: Rocca's Paradiso and Original Sin mixes provide a UR pace and space-aged energy while Italian selector legend Fabric creates much slower, sensual experiences with the On Air mix embodying everything that's great about Balearica and Es Vedra mix taking us even deeper into dubbier pastures.
Hjalmar Larusson & Jonbjorn Gislason - "Jomsvikingarimur - Yta Eigi Feldi Ror." (1:15)
Julianna Barwick - "Forever" (5:30)
Koreless - "Last Remnants" (4:22)
Odesza - "How Did I Get Here" (instrumental) (2:00)
Anois - "A Noise" (4:10)
Samaris - "Gooa Tungl" (4:08)
Olafur Arnalds - "RGB" (4:36)
Rival Consoles - "Pre" (5:14)
Jai Paul - "Jasmine" (demo) (4:11)
Four Tet - "Lion" (Jamie Xx remix) (6:52)
James Blake - "Our Love Comes Back" (3:39)
Spooky Black - "Pull" (4:13)
Colin Stetson & Sarah Neufeld - "And Still They Move" (2:55)
Olafur Arnalds - "Say My Name" (feat Arnor Dan) (5:38)
Kiasmos - "Orgoned" (5:57)
Olafur Arnalds - "Kinesthesia" (1:44)
Hjaltalin - "Ethereal" (6:32)
David Tennant - "Undone" (3:51)
Review: Icelandic classical, experimental and soundtrack composer Olafur Arnalds steps away from the loops and Broadchurch OSTs to conjure yet another sublime LNT saga. Carefully balancing between contemporary odysseys ("Jomsvikingarimur"), dense futuristic electronic weaves ("Last Remnants"), fuzzy 22nd century pop ("A Noise") sludgy cosmic funk ("Jasmine") and introspective soul ("Our Love Comes Back"), Olafur blows wave after woozy wave of soft sonic conjurations in a way that's broad, detailed and cleverly considered. Good night.
Heaven Taste (Steven Wilson original mix edit) (11:21)
Heaven Taste (Jimi Tenor remix) (9:09)
Review: The iconic Finnish label Sahko Recordings comes correct once more with this 12" edition of the classic "Heaven Taste" by British art-rock troupe No-Man. Tim Bownes and Steven Wilson recorded "Heaven Taste" with the assistance of Mick Karn, Richard Barbieri, Steve Jansen and Ben Coleman in studio sessions back in the summer of '92, with the track first surfacing as a rather epic, enveloping 21 minute version on the Painting Paradise EP for One Little Indian in 1993. Given the length and class, it is no surprise "Heaven Taste" was adopted by the emergent ambient techno scene rising in London in the early '90s with Mixmaster Morris a particular champion. This Sahko edition sees No-Man's Steven Wilson turn in an 11-minute edit that doesn't lose any of the original's finely crafted grandeur, whilst on the B-side Jimi Tenor pops up with a rearrangement that highlights his skill at playing the flute and keyboard!
Review: "After the interruption PS is back. This time with the tropically-balearic EP by Moscow debutant Aleceo , who has changed his organised top-manager, live with a slow 808 tempo, Juno chords and microphone in the studio on the beach of magic island of Bali. With the magnetic remix, by Tokyo based maestro Max Essa, this pacific jam becomes a perfect, vinyl only slice of endless summer.
Review: Long-time co-conspirators Lee Forster and James Hadfield build on their entrance serenade Not An Animal earlier this year with two more delicious Claremont-sized slabs of sparkling Balearica. "Frontier" is a real sunlight-breaking-through-the-clouds track with its crisp guitar strums cutting through the heaviest of clouds, toeing a line of sedate-but-strong instrumentation behind it. "Coming In" runs a housier code with its additional layers of darker synths and more dominance on the lolloping drums. Highly versatile.
Review: Not being satisfied with his debut for Music For Dreams - coming through on the label with the wonderful Island LP - man like Ruf Duggles is back on the Danish imprint with some brutally sublime remixes of the tunes featured on it. The always excellent Peaking Lights reshapes "Speedboat" into a dubby, chilled-out kinda jam, while AL Breadwinner proceeds to deconstruct "Rasta Beach" and turns it into a minimal dub groover fort the after hours. On the flip, 2814 mystifies "Tendacayou" into a wave, air-filled lick in a new age kind of vibe, whereas Kenneth Bager goes all balearic on us for "Dominica". Lovely.
Review: Once again, Music From Memory has dug deep for inspiration. Very few will have come across the original 1987 pressing of Ich Traume So Leise, a long-forgotten collaborative album that brought together trumpet player Heinz Becker, songwriter Karl-Heinz Stegmann, and poet Isabel Zeumer. Predictably, though, the tracks which the Dutch label has chosen to reissue are exceptionally good. "Mein Tanzlied", for example, features Becker's meandering trumpet lines and Zeumer's eyebrow-raising spoken word vocals seemingly drifting over an intoxicatingly funky, mid-80s dancefloor groove, while "Dir" is a seriously atmospheric chunk of beatless jazz poetry. Flip for the Balearic electro-funk of "Der Schnupfen" and the languid, new age ambience of "Abends".